Coprophilous fungi as paleo indicators for moose presence after introduction to Newfoundland

Walker, Amber (2023) Coprophilous fungi as paleo indicators for moose presence after introduction to Newfoundland. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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To study the non-native moose (Alces alces) population on Newfoundland, successfully introduced in 1904, a paleolimnological approach was used: coprophilous fungal spores were isolated in two 210Pb-dated lake sediment cores to compare with historical abundance numbers for moose. We predicted that, as commonly practiced with megafauna, coprophilous spores would correspond with abundance data. Cores from two ponds were sectioned at 0.25 cm intervals resulting in ~3-4 years in each slice of sediment from ~1850 to 2021. The counts were numerically treated for each spore type and the spore total by two different methods in 24 samples from each core: 1) as a percent of the tracer Lycopodium present and 2) as an accumulation rate. Coprophilous spores counted in this study include Podospora, Sordaria, Sporomiella, Arnium, Coniochaeta, Ascodesmis, and Delitschia. Results corresponded between moose abundance and spores for Little Crow Pond, but were less promising for Pitcher Pond, possibly due to dating error. Our prediction was supported by the similar trends of coprophilous spore abundance and moose population estimates through time, serving as a validation of these spores as a proxy for large herbivores. With further research, this method may be applicable to the native caribou (Rangifer tarandus).

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Item ID: 16376
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (pages 72-88)
Keywords: coprophilous spores, moose, large herbivores, paleolimnology, Newfoundland
Department(s): Science, Faculty of > Environmental Science
Date: December 2023
Date Type: Submission
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Moose--Newfoundland and Labrador; Paleolimnology--Newfoundland and Labrador; Introduced organisms--Newfoundland and Labrador; Coprophilous fungi--Newfoundland and Labrador; Plant spores--Newfoundland and Labrador

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